Holders Spain may have struggled to impress during their opening Euro 2016 match versus the Czech Republic but Andres Iniesta escaped the critics with another classy performance.
Spain’s late winner from Gerard Pique was crafted by the magical Iniesta, who once again proved to be on another level – even when compared with his illustrious teammates.
A starstruck Nolito, who was making his debut in a major international tournament, told reports after the game:
When 30 years have passed, I can say that I played with Iniesta. He’s the best in the world in his position.
Fellow playmaker Thiago Alcantara, a former teammate at club level whilst playing for Barcelona, was rather less surprised about Iniesta’s hypnotically effective performance during the win:
Andres hasn’t just appeared in this tournament, he’s one of the best in the world and the level he’s playing at does not surprise me. We’re lucky to have him in the team.
Whilst Iniesta was unanimously praised by both fans and journalists, Thiago was also keen to stress the importance of ‘the team and togetherness’ in the tournament, as Spain look to triumph for an unpresedented three-in-a-row:
What’s important is winning, not scoring five goals. We have great players, defenders who’ll do anything for the team and formidable strikers. This is a team sport, the role of the individual is almost unimportant.
We want to leave here champions and there’s no individual thinking in the squad.